Sunday, 7th April, 2024

[Day 1483]

After I had made Meg comfortable in the middle of the night, we eventually settled down and had a good night’s sleep. Meg’s carers turned up on the dot of 8.30 and we had got this organised so that they could take over the minute I had got Meg up and prepared for them. They see her downstairs on the stairlift and ensure that he is comfortably installed in her favourite chair before I go off to prepare our breakfast. After we had breakfasted, we received a visit from the Eucharistic minister from our local church and commiserated with her as she had being having a torrid time recently, firstly with a brother-in-law and now, in the last week, with a sister-in-law. The story is an all too familiar one these days which is a fall at home, followed by a long wait for the ambulance followed by an even longer wait in A&E whilst their relative was being attended to. The lady in question had initially refused to go to our local hospital and, in view of our recent experiences, perhaps she was wise not to go and knew a thing or two that we evidently did not. We will not see our Eucharistic minister again for a week or so whilst a family holiday intervenes but we keep a little calendar specifically reserved for the purpose of recording the next visit. After our visitor we left, we departed and made our way to an almost deserted Waitrose which seemed exceptionally quiet even for a Sunday. But we picked up our copy of the ‘Sunday Times‘, the reading of which is a treat that I reserve for myself over a cup of coffee whilst Meg is having her post-prandial sleep. Once we returned home, we flicked the various channels on the TV and stumbled into the last third of the film ‘Call of the Wild’ which I seem to remember was actually written as a book by Jack London. When I picked up the story, there was a deep bond between a Yukon gold trekker, Thornton and a dog which is a mixture of St. Bernard and Scotch Shepherd called Buck but in the course of their lives together, they run across a pack of wolves. Evidently, the plot revolves around the bond between the gold panner and the dog and the eventual pull of meeting with the wolf pack and hence the title of the film (which rather gives away the ending) I was a bit intrigued by how the film would work out and had to break off the watching of it whilst I went off to get lunch but eventually I learn from a synopsis on the web that Buck does get attracted to a white wolf with whom he eventually mates and then becomes leader of the wolf pack. I have to say that I found the CGI stunning for the facial expressions (anthropomorphism?) on the face of the dog but the film as a whole got rather mixed reviews and eventually only got box office receipts that recovered only about half of the production costs. But I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the 20 minutes or so of the film that I actually viewed. Lunch today was a fairly conventional affair of ham (originally cooked a month ago but half saved in the freezer) augmented by some onion gravy, baked potato and broccoli. Meg ate up every scrap of hers which is always a source of satisfaction and seems to be enjoying a deep doze as I write.

Donald Trump’s shenanigans on the other side of ‘the pond’ are always the kinds of things that one follows with a kind of fascinated horror. Nonetheless, I read something today which I found genuinely shocking. This is an account of the hold that Trump holds over the current Republican party in the US. The article I read reminds us that most current Republican members of the House, including Speaker Michael Johnson, refused to certify the outcome of the 2020 election. In fact, Johnson helped organise 138 Republican House members to dispute that outcome, despite state certifications and the nearly unanimous rulings from state and federal courts that it was an honest election. And so the argument runs – if Johnson and his cronies had so few scruples then, why should we assume they will have more scruples in the weeks following November’s elections?

The Labour party should perhaps be rejoicing in the fact that a landslide victory for them is still completely on the cards – and many Conservative MPs are secretly resigned to their fate. But the Labour leadership is being cautious in the extreme and is taking nothing for granted. Having made very few specific pledges and with a large majority in prospect, there is no reason why the pledges made by the Labour party should not be fulfilled quite speedily. It is not fully appreciated that Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister on the basis of quite a mild manifesto that was designed not to ‘frighten the horses’ as they say. Those well versed in the arts of ‘realpolitik’ argue that political parties should aim to get elected by making as few and uncontentious promises as possible but then to have up their sleeve a ‘real’ agenda that they would put into effect if elected by sufficiently large majority. But many political commentators are of the view that if the Labour Party were to be elected, then after the initial pledges were fulfilled, there would be no real vision as to what to do with the political power that they so crave. After all, we did see that in 1966 when a Labour government was elected with a very workable majority but any opportunities for more radical reform were frittered away in the absence of any real vision. I remain of the view that any non-Conservative government in the UK always has to face three real sources of opposition to its very existence. The first of these is the undoubted hostility of the Main Street Media which is predominantly in the hands of those advocating a right wing agenda. I have referred before to the secret Tories who always seem to be around when needed to bail out a Conservative government, however dire it might be. Finally, of course, the right will always mobilise and play the ‘race’ card (or the overtly ethnocentric card’) in order to garner support.